Social media: Design Standard for the Federal Identity Program

The official symbols must be applied to official social media accounts and communications products posted on these accounts.

See Core elements and How to present the official symbols for details about colour, sizing, and other aspects of using the symbols.

  • Official social media accounts

    Official social media accounts are used for official Government of Canada purposes such as communications, service delivery, collaboration and other purposes within the scope of a department’s mandate. These accounts are generally managed by a department’s communications staff.


    All official social media accounts of the Government of Canada are identified with one of the following avatars:

    • the flag avatar
    • the arms avatar
    • a custom avatar

    These avatars must only be used as profile photos on official social media accounts.

    When applying the avatars, care must be taken to ensure that the official symbols are not cut off.

    Departments must use the versions of the avatars that are maintained by the Communications and Federal Identity Policy Centre at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS).

    Flag avatar

    The flag avatar (see Figure 1) consists of the flag symbol and the Canada wordmark. The flag avatar is the default identifier for all official social media accounts.

    Figure 1. Flag avatar, in square and circular layouts

    The flag avatar consists of the Canada wordmark in its standard colours (black type, FIP red flag symbol) below the FIP red flag symbol.

    Arms avatar

    The arms avatar (see Figure 2) consists of the arms of Canada and the Canada wordmark. The arms avatar is only to be used for accounts that represent departments whose corporate signature contains the arms of Canada.

    Agents of Parliament are not required to use the Canada wordmark in their avatar. They may use the arms of Canada alone or create a custom avatar.

    Figure 2. Arms avatar, in square and circular layouts

    The arms avatar consists of the Canada wordmark in its standard colours (black type, FIP red flag symbol) below the stylized black version of the arms of Canada.

    Custom avatars

    A custom avatar may be used to identify official social media accounts that:

    • are associated with official themes under
    • have a different or additional identifying symbol approved by the Treasury Board (for example, the RCMP badge or the Parks Canada beaver)
    • use a different design approach to distinguish their accounts from other official social media accounts (for example, Canadian embassies)

    A custom avatar must be:

    • developed in consultation with the Communications and Federal Identity Policy Centre at TBS
    • approved by the department’s head of communications
    Custom avatar design

    All custom avatars must use the standard colour version of the Canada wordmark (black letterforms and FIP red flag symbol on a white background).

    Departments must use the digital master template of the custom avatar created and maintained by the Communications and Federal Identity Policy Centre at TBS. Departments are responsible for inserting their custom imagery into the template.

    Get a copy of the avatars

    To obtain a copy of the flag avatar, arms avatar and the template for a custom avatar, contact your department’s coordinator.

    Contact your FIP coordinator

    Sample gallery

    Text identifiers

    Departments must select one of the following options for their text identifiers:

    When an official social media account represents a government official:

    • the account address is based on the title of the office or position (for example, @Clerk_GC and /ClerkGC) and not the individual’s name
    • the display name can use an individual’s name if the name field can be updated
  • Products posted on official social media accounts

    Requirements for products posted on official social media accounts are available under the specific product (for example, videos, static graphics).

  • Using social media icons

    Icons of social media providers can be used on:

    • digital communications products such as websites: in these products, the icons must be hyperlinked to official social media accounts
    • products such as posters, pamphlets, billboards, and television ads: in these products, the icons must be accompanied by the address of the official social media account (see Figure 3 for examples)

    Figure 3. Examples of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter social media icons with official social media account addresses, following each provider’s layout guidelines

    Official social media account addresses positioned to the right of icons for 3 different social media providers.

Supporting tools

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Category Products
Ads Search engine marketing (SEM) ads, paid advertising, static ads, video ads, animated ads, audio ads
Awards Long service awards, departmental awards, certificates
Exhibits and events Roll-up banners, backdrops, podium signs, press conferences, live-streamed events, participating or attending an event
Mobile applications App icons, launch screens, post-launch screens, app stores
Motion graphics Animated text or images, animated effects
Partnering (technical specifications) Federal contributions, fair acknowledgement, sponsoring arrangements
Personnel identification Department-issued clothing, ID cards
Podcasts Cover art, artwork for individual episodes, podcast listings and descriptions
Printable products and static graphics Publications, posters, infographics, presentations, graphics shared on social media, images
Promotional items Novelties, mementoes
Signage (technical specifications) Primary signs, operational signs, project signs, tactile signs
Social media Avatars, text identifiers, official social media accounts, icons
Stationery (technical specifications) Letterhead, envelopes, business cards
Text messages Text messages sent by or on behalf of the Government of Canada, emergency alerts
Vehicles (technical specifications) Markings on ground, air, marine vehicles
Videos Films, audio-visual, multi-media presentations and productions
Websites Public-facing websites, internal sites, intranets, extranets, password-protected sites, web applications

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